I am in love with this movie, but not too many people are familiar with it because it got a raw deal, and that’s a huge shame. There are so many reasons to appreciate this film, the iconic fashion, the kick-ass make-up, the power and angst of these girls, amazing punk music, and much more.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains stars a 15-year-old Diane Lane as Corinne Burns, a frustrated recently orphaned teenage girl who in an effort to get the hell out of her small town, enlists her cousin (Laura Dern) and younger sister (Marin Kanter) to start a punk band. The three join a tour run by “Lawn boy” (Reggae artist Barry Ford) a Rastafarian with a mission to make enough money to save a musician friend of his who was wrongly imprisoned. The tour consists of two other bands; aging rockers The Metal Corpses who wear Kiss-like stage makeup and rest on the laurels of their one hit, and The Looters, a group of young cockneys, three of which are played by legendary punk musicians—Paul Simonon bassist for The Clash, and ex-Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook. The Stains are put on the tour to ease tensions between the two other bands, but Corinne has bigger plans. She shows up for their first gig in tights, boots, a see-through blouse, and awesome hair and makeup, despite her band-mates leaving the stage and the audience heckling her, she makes an impression when she reveals herself to the audience shouting “I’m perfect! But nobody in this shithole gets me, because I don’t put out!”.
After grabbing the attention of local newswoman Alicia Meeker with her message of “don’t put out” which Corinne describes as meaning “Don’t get screwed, don’t be a jerk, don’t get had”, The Stains start to gain a following. Their fans call themselves “skunks” and put white streaks in their hair like Corinne. They range from adolescent girls to their original fan Ms. Meeker, who trades her 80s power suits for bright colors and red eyeliner. The lead singer of the Looters, Billy (Ray Winstone), is also taken with Corinne, and after rejecting his advances, she finally gives in to him. The rest of the film features a lot of angst, revenge, teen girls, and of course more punk music, but you should really just see it for yourself, because despite the plot holes, this movie is iconic and damn awesome in so many ways. Unfortunately, the studio didn’t agree—it wasn’t commercial enough, so they held the release, re-titled it (the original title was “All Washed Up”), and tacked on an MTV music video ending in which the punk-rock Stains have turned peppy and look more like the Go-gos, bouncy, fluffy hair and all.
This film was made in 1980, that’s before Spinal Tap, before Cyndi Lauper or Joan Jett were mainstream, and before there were any all-female rock bands prevalent in the United States. This movie was ahead of its time. Lady Gaga and Corinne have virtually the same everyday attire—black tights, black underwear, heels and maybe a sweater. It’s still rare to see a character like Corinne in a movie, watching her gain and quickly lose—the upper hand with her love interest is pretty amazing. She can be a pouty brat, but she also has incredible ambition and knows how to take care of herself—even though she’s just a girl.
It’s obvious that the movie industry has changed. We attack Miley Cyrus for doing a sexy lap dance off-screen, meanwhile in 1980, at barely 15, Diane Lane has shower sex scenes, shows her boobs and ass, and plays a character who openly showcases her sex-appeal. Let’s look what happened to Diane Lane—she’s a successful, Oscar-nominated actress with an amazing career under her belt, and she seems pretty damn well-adjusted. Then there is Laura Dern who, despite towering over all the girls in the film, was just 12 (TWELVE!) when this movie started filming, she had to be emancipated from her mother, but she seems to have turned out pretty well too. This film showcases how different teenage girls are from their male peers. At 15, you’re a woman, you may be awkward and have no idea what you’re doing, but the world sees you as a woman and it makes you mature pretty fast. We like to pretend in this country that until you’re 18 you are a child, and that’s simply not true, teens and adolescents are equally engrossed in our world, love, hate, sex, drugs—they know all about it, whether some people want to believe it or not.
This film is about commercialism, gimmicks, and obviously the music industry too. Corinne has a good message, and it appeals to young, angry girls and grown women as well. Sadly, to the men around her who don’t understand the appeal, it just comes off as a shtick, and well that might be part of it, it’s not everything. Corinne is a pissed off 15-year-old girl, and she uses her body and her angst to rally other women who feel the same as her. The character of Corinne is a multi-faceted one, Diane Lane works perfectly, because if she weren’t vulnerable she would come off as too angry and bitter, it’s the moments where she seems like a scared girl that you really feel for her character. By the end of the film, Corinne has bought into her own image, and later she lets herself believe it was the only thing she had going for her, at 15 she’s already been eaten up and spit back out by the industry. But it wasn’t just the make-up, the hair, and the outfits, there was something else, something that appealed to women, something strong, maybe the men around her just couldn’t see it, or maybe they were threatened by it, either way, it was much, much more than just hair.
I feel kind of out of practice with my makeup artistry recently, but while I was watching this movie I decided I just had to try out the look. I used MAC blush in frankly scarlet with a MAC angled brush to do the points on the eyes. I used Maybelline Line Stylist Eyeliner in Black Sparkle eyeliner to get the fine under eye line, and I finished off the eyes with Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara in very black. On my lips is MAC lipstick in Russian Red. It’s not my best work, but it was fun and it was 1:00AM. I also read that they used a stencil in the movie and I did this freehand—so HA!
I’m trying to look angsty here, it’s not working out too well.
I’m a skunk!
My Fiancé did this one, yes we’re PhotoShop nerds.
Try the look out for yourself, and then send me pictures! You know you want to!
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